Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined the other members of the diplomatic Middle East Quartet today in calling on Israel and the Palestinians to fulfil their agreed obligations in the search for peace, adding that it is important to work hard towards meaningful progress.
It is important for the Quartet members that all the parties concerned show meaningful signs of progress in the coming few months, Mr. Ban told reporters in Trieste, Italy, following the meeting of the group, which comprises the UN, European Union, Russia and the United States.
In today`s meeting, the Quartet discussed moving towards Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and supporting the Palestinian Authority and economic growth.
They also conferred on the situation in Gaza; comprehensive peace between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon; as well as an international conference slated to be held in Moscow some time this year.
In a joint communiquÃ© issued at the end of the meeting, the Quartet called on Israel and the Palestinians to implement their obligations under the Middle East Road Map, which embodies the two-State solution, and affirmed that unilateral actions taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community.
In addition, the group agreed that the current situation in Gaza is unsustainable and not in the interests of any of those concerned.
Members called for the unimpeded provision of humanitarian aid, including food, fuel and medical treatment into the area, which recently endured a devastating Israeli offensive with the stated goal of ending rocket fire into its southern territory.
Earlier this week, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry told the Security Council that the unresolved crisis in Gaza has negative repercussions on all efforts to advance the peace process, and wreaks unacceptable havoc on the fabric of civilian life in Gaza.
Mr. Ban, in his comments to the press, stated that the UN has a good proposal to kick-start early recovery and reconstruction in Gaza and has made quite significant progress in the West Bank. The UN is urging the Israeli authorities to stop settlements, including natural growth, and open crossings, he added.
Following the Quartet meeting, Mr. Ban attended a closed meeting of the Group of Eight (G8) Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan, which focused on regional perspectives, including cooperation in border management and countering illicit drug trafficking. He is also scheduled to meet today with the Quartet`s Arab partners.